Statement on British Values and SMSC
Our approach to SMSC also includes how we address ‘British Values’, including how we prepare our pupils for life in modern Britain. We believe the values set out as being ‘British’ are values that we would consider important in any society, they are not uniquely British. However if we unpick the requirements of teaching ‘British Values’ we can see that much of it’s content is what we consider important in a modern society. We do not claim to be successful by simply demanding pupils adhere to these rules, many of our children, indeed any child, will not simply conform because they are told to. We feel it is important that a child wants to be tolerant and accepting and respectful, that this is modeled to them in all that they do, that this is the ‘normal’ way to behave. Through our very personalized approach to learning we feel we have ‘a better chance than most’ at developing those ‘human values’ that create a warm and caring society.
Challenges for pupils with SEN and physical disabilities
The reality of life in modern Britain for our pupils can have a very different meaning to that of their mainstream peers and to try and equate the two would be meaningless and disrespectful. We know and observe that society itself does not always model tolerance and respect for people with disabilities who are discriminated against on a daily basis. We are therefore faced with the challenge of overcoming the issues that many children and their families observe daily. However, as our children are uniquely tolerant it is the children themselves who create the ethos of tolerance and care and this is to be celebrated
Ofsted guidance for the teaching of ‘British Values’
- Enable students to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence
- Enable students to distinguish right from wrong and to respect the civil and criminal law of England
- Encourage students to accept responsibility for their behaviour, show initiative, and to understand how they can contribute positively to the lives of those living and working in the locality of the school and to society more widely
- Enable students to acquire a broad general knowledge of and respect for public institutions and services in England
- Further tolerance and harmony between different cultural traditions by enabling students to acquire an appreciation for and respect for their own and other cultures
- Encourage respect for other people, and
- Encourage respect for democracy and support for participation in the democratic processes, including respect for the basis on which the law is made and applied in England.
- Encourage respect for other people, paying particular regard to the protected characteristics set out in the Equality Act 2010.
Our response to Osfted Guidance
When we explore the concept of ‘British Values’ and we teach those to children who are performing at P1-P3 this can be a puzzling task indeed. However when we unpick what is really meant by British Values we realize they are simply ‘Human Values’, not uniquely relevant to Britain but relevant all societies which encourage tolerance, fairness and respect.
For children who learn best from a sensory approach to learning we must consider carefully how we approach this task, we can pick out some of the ‘values and be confident that they are embedded within our curriculum already, they are part of all we do. For example qualities of self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence are part of our very ethos. Our personalized approach to learning, high staffing ratios and 1:1 support where appropriate helps us to develop those qualities in our pupils. We can model this for all pupils by listen, caring – offering the highest quality of care- Developing appropriate communication systems so that our pupils have a voice and can have control over their environment. We foster relationships, friendships, a love for learning and a love for school, all of which are helping us to promote those values which are at the very core of life itself.
Equally, through our curriculum and all that we do we encourage our pupils to understand right & wrong, this can be modeled through real-life experiences, literature, drama and games. We again see communication as the key to allowing children to have a voice, to be able to express an opinion, to know they are heard, to be listened to. For children whose behaviour can be challenging, due to their disabilities, we can model appropriate behavior and use teaching methods that include strategies for reducing anxiety which can be a trigger for socially unacceptable behavior. We will never change a pupil’s disability but we can help them to cope with challenges and teach strategies that they can use throughout their lives.
Through our topics and special days we can provide opportunities for pupils to have first hand experience of public institutions and services such as the police, fire and ambulance service. Through building relationships and having first hand sensory experiences of these services respect and understanding can be built.
We are a multicultural school and therefore celebrate a wide range of cultural traditions. This is primarily achieved through topics, special days and assemblies. Our pupils love listening to world music, tasting food from other cultures, experiencing traditions and taking part in activities around different cultures. For example, African drumming, dance, cookery activities, singing, role-play, dressing up, community visits and creating art. Through such personalized learning are children are keen to embrace cultural activities without discrimination, seeing joy and fun in their exploration.
Our approach to the teaching of ‘British Values’ (‘Human Values’)
To summarise the teaching of ‘British Values’ is central to our ethos and all that we do, we may achieve our results in ways which may differ from our mainstream colleagues but are never the less equally as powerful and meaningful. We achieve our results through carefully planned and creative activities which are designed to meet the needs of our pupils at all levels. For further evidence on how we approach British Values please refer to our SMSC grid.